Re: Commitments to community
From: Beverly Jones Redekop (
Date: Mon, 18 Jan 2016 14:17:57 -0800 (PST)
No record keeping at all? No public log to record one's activities and
time? No communication?

How do new people figure out how the place runs itself if we don't tell
them what we do and how long it takes? How do we gift our extra hours to
people whom we wish to support (a busy farmer or phd student, a family with
cancer or a newborn baby)? How do we talk to the disengaged who don't
realize how much maintenance work is done or who imagine that the people
working the most are happy to carry the slack of nonparticipants?

Why do dollars for strata fees/HOA dues require accountability while hours
for maintenance can run on inspiration, whims, and guilt?

Of the happy, well-functioning communities (the ones that are in good
repair and that have community dinners at least a couple of times per
week), what is the split between recording and not recording? Do recorders
and non-recorders both have reasonable contributions in lieu of
participation from those who didn't contribute much time?

We're very close to getting the occupancy certificate on our common house
here in Yarrow, BC, so it's nice to know how thriving communities are
achieving their health and happiness.

Beverly at Groundswell Cohousing

On Mon, Jan 18, 2016, 1:35 PM Sharon Villines <sharon [at]>

> I’ve said this before but will say it again because this is such a problem
> in cooperative ventures with no definition or enforcement of cooperation.
> After 15+ years of reading the list, participating in food coops, school
> coops, churches, college faculties, etc., and various schemes to increase
> participation, I believe that hours and money are not the answer.
> Almost every time we have asked for hours or money in special
> circumstances — emergency or desired extra — we have gotten it.
> It’s much more important for me that people take responsibility for
> maintaining the community. Pay attention. Don’t make work for other people.
> Leave it better than you found it. Do something nice for a community member
> a few times a month.
> Assume a task that needs to be done on an ongoing basis so others don’t
> have to even think about it. Take charge of the sump pumps, the lawn
> mowing, straightening up the kids room, posting minutes on the website,
> etc., and do the job dependably and without reminders.
> A person who takes responsibility for the parking gate, ensuring that
> maintenance gets done and calling for service when necessary. Regular
> maintenance is a annual contract but it has never worked that the service
> people automatically show up. And when they don’t, the gate will break down
> a few weeks later. No one can get in or out. She is on it the minute she is
> informed.
> How much time does this all take? Probably a few hours a year. But I don’t
> even have a car and I bless her. The letter carrier blesses her because
> then she doesn’t have to carry mail from the other street — a one block
> walk. Garbage pick up and recycling can back up very fast if the gate
> doesn’t open.
> When the community is on the whole functioning responsibly, I feel safe.
> It took me a long time to get to this.
> Rob Sandelin once said, how can I judge the value of 8 hours cleaning the
> trails (they have woods) and holding a half hour ksession with our children
> talking about ethics? (They have a philosophy professor.)
> Sharon
> ----
> Sharon Villines
> Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC
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